Jan 04, 2017



Teachers, school counselors, principals, assistant principals and academic career coaches from six counties gathered at the Leslie Town Centre in Cookeville to attend an Educator Externship Preparation Program presented by Lillian Hartgrove, Highlands Workforce Development and Education Vice President.  

The Externship Program, developed with the Career Technical Education Directors, is an opportunity for teams of educators from 8 high schools to spend quality time with an advanced manufacturing company in the region, take what they learn and apply it to lessons in the classroom for all subject/content areas.  Due to the Highlands Economic Partnership's Workforce Development and Education Program of Work, six school district Directors of School agreed to launch this program, apply for Perkins Reserve Grant funding to make it happen, and identify teachers in all content areas to participate. Chosen educators will take time away from their respective schools knowing their students are in the good hands of substitute teachers thanks to being recipients of the grant. 
The Career Technical Education Directors, which includes Tim Mackie from White County, Jayne Donaldson from Clay County, Deb Whitaker from Jackson County, Tracy Risinger from Warren County, Teresa Johnson from Overton County and Sandy Joslin from Putnam County, worked diligently with Lillian Hartgrove to plan and design the program for their respective school districts.  They will oversee the program, coordinate with employers, and work with the educators in their districts to ensure a successful externship experience for the educators and employers.
Clay, Jackson, Overton, Putnam, Warren and White County school districts are partners in the Highlands Workforce Development and Education with the Directors serving on the steering committee to determine programs, goals and objectives to prepare students for postsecondary education and the world of work.
"It was a unanimous decision to provide educators with this incredible opportunity to be in the workplace, learn about advanced manufacturing, return to school to develop lesson plans that include relevant information from the workplace to teach to their students", said Jerry Boyd, Putnam County Director of Schools.  It is all part of the comprehensive program of work and the Pathways to Prosperity initiative, which is included in the Highlands Workforce Development & Education program, designed to align education with the needs of employers and ultimately lead to a more highly skilled and prepared workforce. Approximately 100 educators from the six districts will have this unique experience over the next several months.
Companies in Overton, Putnam, Warren and White counties will host the educators, which includes ATC Automation, Cummins Filtration, Custom Tool Company, TUTCO, ABC INOAC, Federal Mogul, Hutchinson, Bridgestone, and Yorozu.  TCAT-Livingston will host a 1/2 day session showcasing the Mechatronics Program for the Clay and Overton County Educators.
For more information about the Highlands Workforce Development and Education Programs, contact Lillian Hartgrove at 931-526-2211 or
The Highlands Workforce Development and Education program is a division of the Highlands Economic Partnership, which was launched in 2006 by the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce. It is a collaborative, public/private sector program designed to boost economic and community development in Jackson, Overton, Putnam and White counties. Over 80 investor companies made up of federal, state, city and county governments and agencies, chambers of commerce, key officials and business leaders throughout the region, play key roles in the program’s development.